Is costs and lack of atmopshere the key to English footballs lack of appeal?

overkill

Distinguished Member
Was interesting to see a good article on German football the BBC site. Not just because a good article from the BBC is becoming a bit of a relief, but because it makes some interesting points.

The first is obvious, that no matter how good or bad the football on offer, high gate prices put people off - as it is all over Europe. By contrast, German football entrance fee's are, by English football standards, outrageously cheap. For example, I pay more to see third tier games in England than German fans do for top Bundesliga sides! A question then. Should football fans in this country be doing (for once!) what fans in other countries do, and lobby for clubs to look after them for a change and reduce prices (and wages?).

Second is more contraversial. Many argue that all seater stadia is pretty (if not very) soulless, and regardless of the partizan arguments, many would agree that this is indeed the case. As such, and by contrast, the German FA decided to listen not to a bunch of knee jerk reactionaries, cynical politicians and clubs, but to the fans, and kept terracing. Surprise, as a result the atmosphere at Bundesliga games is pretty much unchanged. Another question. Is this what we lack? Should we ignore those who's arguments are based on emotion not fact or common sense? Terraces don't kill people, poor policing and bad stadia design does.

Third is another contraversial point, and one I'm certain wouldn't work here. German stadia are awash with beer drinkers toting cartons of beer, and creating a pretty laid back atmosphere. Somewhat akin to that at English Cricket grounds. But, even here, could we not argue that football has moved on from those grim days, and that even with a reduction in prices it still wouldn't entice the 'rent a thugs' back?

Obviously, some of these points will not be agreed with by all, and the two leauges scenarios are indeed very different, but, and it's a big but once again, what would we, as English fans prefer? A return to the days when everyone could go to game, or as near as, with the tremendous atmosphere only 20,000 plus on the terraces can generate, or carry on was we are? In sterile but expansive all seaters, where only a privileged few can afford the ludicrous prices, and where atmosphere is increasingly being generated by US style musical 'cheerleading' (God forbid!), and where, again unlike Germany where wages are tightly controlled, a bunch of overpaid, under-achieving, soccer mercenaries serve up rubbish week in week out?

I know which one I prefer. Do you? ;)
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
Link to said article :)

I like this bit
Above all, there is a sense that the game here has not been hijacked - neither by big commercial interests nor by hooligans. It still belongs to the, ordinary, decent fans and perhaps that is the secret.
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
The first is obvious, that no matter how good or bad the football on offer, high gate prices put people off - as it is all over Europe. By contrast, German football entrance fee's are, by English football standards, outrageously cheap. For example, I pay more to see third tier games in England than German fans do for top Bundesliga sides! A question then. Should football fans in this country be doing (for once!) what fans in other countries do, and lobby for clubs to look after them for a change and reduce prices (and wages?).

I think this is already happening, in that some clubs are not raising prices.
We as a nation don't kick up a stink like we ought to, we just vote with our feet.
Prices are scandalously high and certainly my main concern.

Second is more contraversial. Many argue that all seater stadia is pretty (if not very) soulless, and regardless of the partizan arguments, many would agree that this is indeed the case. As such, and by contrast, the German FA decided to listen not to a bunch of knee jerk reactionaries, cynical politicians and clubs, but to the fans, and kept terracing. Surprise, as a result the atmosphere at Bundesliga games is pretty much unchanged. Another question. Is this what we lack? Should we ignore those who's arguments are based on emotion not fact or common sense? Terraces don't kill people, poor policing and bad stadia design does.

This is starting to happen too.
I read an article about this just the other day. I believe this very question is going to be debated in the commons later this year, with a fair amount of MP's supporting standing.
I'm all in favour of having at least a percentage of terrace capacity.
Going to footy now is lifeless, as you suggest, compared to when I used to watch the Villa all the time.
I totally agree with your point about policing and design.


Third is another contraversial point, and one I'm certain wouldn't work here. German stadia are awash with beer drinkers toting cartons of beer, and creating a pretty laid back atmosphere. Somewhat akin to that at English Cricket grounds. But, even here, could we not argue that football has moved on from those grim days, and that even with a reduction in prices it still wouldn't entice the 'rent a thugs' back?

I'm not so sure here.
I think the tribal thing (which is what makes footy great) and alcohol are not a good mix.
But having said that, a fair percentage of fans go for a drink beforehand and some can have a tendancy to neck beer faster than is good for you.
Maybe booze during the game, might not be so bad in that sense :confused:

Obviously, some of these points will not be agreed with by all, and the two leauges scenarios are indeed very different, but, and it's a big but once again, what would we, as English fans prefer? A return to the days when everyone could go to game, or as near as, with the tremendous atmosphere only 20,000 plus on the terraces can generate, or carry on was we are? In sterile but expansive all seaters, where only a privileged few can afford the ludicrous prices, and where atmosphere is increasingly being generated by US style musical 'cheerleading' (God forbid!), and where, again unlike Germany where wages are tightly controlled, a bunch of overpaid, under-achieving, soccer mercenaries serve up rubbish week in week out?

I know which one I prefer. Do you? ;)
 

WelshBluebird

Well-known Member
Totally agree about terracing. Ninian park is still partly terraced (half of one stand, and the whole of another), and the atmosphere is brilliant IMO. May even better than the millenium stadium (and that has a capacity of over 3 times larger than NP).

However, the problem with terracing is the violence issue. I think the Man Utd incident in Milian showed how easy violence on that scale becomes with terracing.

And there is still some trouble at Ninian park (a much smaller minority of people now though) and I have no doubt that would be even greater reduced with an all seating standium. But that would mean loosing the brilliant atmosphere NP has.

As for pricing, some clubs pricing is just crazy, and fair play to those clubs who have reduced or frozen ticket prices. Can't be that easy to do when you have investors who look at a football club and see dollar signs.
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
I'm not so sure here.
I think the tribal thing (which is what makes footy great) and alcohol are not a good mix.
But having said that, a fair percentage of fans go for a drink beforehand and some can have a tendancy to neck beer faster than is good for you.
Maybe booze during the game, might not be so bad in that sense :confused:
I agree Badger. Sadly alcohol and the English don't mix. I wonder if it's genetic, like some of the Asian peoples and the Amerindians? I say this because alcoholism and problems with excessive drinking go way back to Medieval times in this country, and in the Victorian period this problem was, as far as we can tell, easily among the worst in Europe.

Not sure about whether the current slowing down or freezing of prices will make much difference. They are already way too high, and if anything, as the Germans did, they need to be reduced not just be 'frozen'.

@Welshbluebird, the stadium in Rome is all seat. Whether we have all-seat or terraces, if people want to cause trouble they will. That's a policing issue, not a 'seat or not'. I've been to games where the violence has been non stop, and the lovely seats were just handy missiles. Guess where? ;)
 
D

Deleted member 51156

Guest
Good post this ,i for one think that prices are way too high ,so would have to come down ,captain birdseye at leeds charges £26 for a load of crap ,its not his fault the footballs poor but the crowds have been poor all season .

The only games that have had anywhere near a good attendance are those where tickets have been made available to supporters for £15 ,but to the big clubs were there is a waiting list for tickets ,there is no incentive for lower prices ,so yes it would help fill some grounds but it won't happen.


I think maybe now that the policing is more professional that terracing maybe allowed once again ,but i personally would rather sit down ,and stand up if something interesting happens ,but what happens at grounds now is you have loads of stewards and announcements telling everyone to sit down ,no swearing ,dont,do this blah ,blah ,i think clubs should have family stands ,then the those of a more sensitive nature can go sit in there own quiet stand and clap while eating a cucumber sandwhich.

The tribal nature of football used to make it interesting ,now its more like censored office banter ,there are some hilarious songs that used to be sung from the terraces ,these occasionally pop out but are definatly frowned upon ,by over zealous stewards ,who are usually backed up by the police.

Id cards and the section 60 act as quelled football violence ,there does seem to be a common misconception that people who are involved in football violence are generally nugget heads ,i have found that there are nugget heads ,but there are also people with good jobs and families who for some reason behave differently at football than they would in normal life ,lowering the prices would not in my view encourage more thugs back ,they still go to football ,most have plenty of money ,after all football, fashion clothing doesn't come cheap.Most lads from that era can't be arsed kicking off anymore ,prison sentences ,and general public disgust has put loads off .

The british it seems are a nation of people who for some reason or another ,cannot take there beer ,wether it would lead to an increase in violence at games i don't know ,i mean at most grounds you can get a beer anyway.

Football has changed ,its more business like now ,it needed to change in the 80's after the various disasters that happened ,full scale pitch invasions were common ,violence and rasicsm happened at every ground ,football in this area has improved ,but somewhere from the sky football conception and now, football has been sanitized so much that the game and some of the new supporters now has nothing in common with the older fans.

I was in the pub yesterday watching the man utd game ,and i asked one of the lads who is a man utd fan how long he had supported his team ,he replied since the start of the sky coverage ,so what you have now is loads of fans choosing the best team to watch because there team wining makes them feel good .

The rites of passage that us older fans went through going with are fathers ,mothers and following the team through thick and thin have gone .
When i was growing up in the seventies and eighties i was took to elland road ,occasionally i went to the shay ,basically because the family had a love for football and the leeds team ,now it seems people attach themselves to something sucessful and call themselves a fan ,they have no real interest in the game only in the fact that they feel like winners .

Its another reason why england are so poor ,the old style footy fans want to watch football ,they don't give a crap about the alleged superstar status of a fellow human ,they cannot relate to the players now,at one time the players used to be one of the lads ,now its all about the hello magazine ,haircuts ,movie premiers ,pop star birds .
The older lads don't have any respect for this type of person ,or image of the game ,but the new style fans lap it all up ,they love it ,they buy the mags,books etc ,club shirts ,socks ,undies ,cups ,plates.

Football for me does have some exicting games ocassionally ,but the game has been sanatized so much it has lost it ,i fear its just a sign of the times ,to go along with all the other crap we call entertainment these days.
 

WelshBluebird

Well-known Member
i think clubs should have family stands ,then the those of a more sensitive nature can go sit in there own quiet stand and clap while eating a cucumber sandwhich.

Some grounds still have family stands (and least Ninian Park does), and I totally agree with the idea.

The rites of passage that us older fans went through going with are fathers ,mothers and following the team through thick and thin have gone .
When i was growing up in the seventies and eighties i was took to elland road ,occasionally i went to the shay ,basically because the family had a love for football and the leeds team ,now it seems people attach themselves to something sucessful and call themselves a fan ,they have no real interest in the game only in the fact that they feel like winners .

that still hasn't been forgotten totally. At least in the lower leagues anyway. (I've been following cardiff for about 10 years since I was 7, and have been to nearly every home game I could go to, and I know quite a few people the same).

@Welshbluebird, the stadium in Rome is all seat. Whether we have all-seat or terraces, if people want to cause trouble they will. That's a policing issue, not a 'seat or not'. I've been to games where the violence has been non stop, and the lovely seats were just handy missiles. Guess where? ;)

apologies for being wrong lol. I just assumed it was partly terraced due to the roma fans being able to "charge" against the partition between the fans.
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
Some grounds still have family stands (and least Ninian Park does), and I totally agree with the idea.



that still hasn't been forgotten totally. At least in the lower leagues anyway. (I've been following cardiff for about 10 years since I was 7, and have been to nearly every home game I could go to, and I know quite a few people the same).



apologies for being wrong lol. I just assumed it was partly terraced due to the roma fans being able to "charge" against the partition between the fans.
Trouble is, is that even this is a misconception. The stands were always where the middle classes, and if they so wished, the 'family' could go. Swearing wasn't 'verboten' but it was frowned upon, and, as long as the club didn't have a large number of regular hoolies who frequented a stand to circumvent police barricades, as used to happen at Chelsea for one, then your chance of being involved in football related violence was nil. The idea of the 'family stand' is in fact just window dressing a situation that was already in place.

You are right for the lower divisions, and some areas of the bigger clubs stadia, but it's decreasingly the case everywhere. Is £16+ a ticket sustainable for a third tier club, when top tier clubs are charging half that in Germany? I think not. What you are seeing is the last dregs of that generation, even in the lower leauges.

The latin stadiums are built in such a way as standing or sitting is much easier than the cramped situation you find in this country. The stadiums are often purpose built oval bowls, which are great in countries which are hot, but pretty useless in countries like ours. They are also great for rioting fans to build up charges................
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
Actually, I thought it was a prawn sandwich :)
Totally correct either way.
I'm coming round to the way of thinking that it's a game played by wimps and cheats :(
The rubbish that I watched Villa and Pompey play today, was about what I'd expect in Div 1.
 
D

Deleted member 51156

Guest
Most Prem teams have this I think :smashin:

What cucumber sandwiches lol.

The family stand was more a point about the dire atmosphere created at grounds by a certain new breed of fans and the corporate mongs that now run the game.

A couple more points to why the game is dead
The fa cup is won by no more than 4 clubs,the league is won by no more than 3 clubs.

Clubs out of this ring can no longer build great teams like they used to in the past ,money has ruined the game as soon as a player starts getting rave reviews ,he is picked off by a big club to go sit on the bench.

Too many foreigners, when I watch Man utd V Roma, I want to see an English team play an Italian team, not two homogenous European sides playing a European style.
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
A couple more points to why the game is dead
The fa cup is won by no more than 4 clubs,the league is won by no more than 3 clubs.


I pretty much agree.

I used to love watching any game on telly, when it was a rarity.
Now it's on every 5 minutes, I can't be bothered.
The current monopoly will kill the game, TV viewing-wise, IMO.
Hopefully, the game itself, will win through eventually.
 

Dave

Distinguished Member
May as well throw my 2p in.

Pricing. Personally I wouldn't mind paying 23 quid to watch West Brom play if the players gave it 100% every match. They are being paid many thousands of pounds a week and the least we as fans can expect is that our hard earned money paid at the gate is being earned by the players. I hate seeing a match when the players just don't seem bothered to go that extra yard especially considering they earn more in a month than I could dream of earning in a year.

Atmosphere. Terraces all the way. It seems at the Hawthorns that it's becoming a battle of wills between the fans and stewards. They are constantly threatening to throw people out for standing up, even if you are on the back row. There are even signs and ads on the screens telling the fans to "sit down if you love football". Which are most of the time responded to by a chorus of "stand up if you hate the stewards".:D

Football is an exciting game to watch and personally I'd much rather stand on a terrace than sit in a nasty plastic seat. I'm rather reluctant to say this but it seems that football is being took over by the middle classes. You're not even allowed to smoke in the ground any more, regardless of where you are sitting or are outside or in and any defectors are quickly stamped on by the stewards. It seems like the club just wants to charge you an exorbitant fee for watching overpaid players make little effort whilst being lambasted by stewards for doing anything the club considers "unsavoury".

Maybe football is changing, mainly because it's now run as a business rather than a football club. The only good thing about it is there is now less thuggery at matches but surely there are ways of combatting this without making the fans all feel like naughty school boys.

IMHO the clubs need to start focusing on the football and what the fans want from it rather than how much money they can make this season.
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
You have to agree old dick (white)head has a very valid point.
Even though I'm Villa too, I think he's dead right.

We were having this exact conversation today.
Everyone was in agreement that it won't be long before the top 4 break away.

Interestingly, I've noticed that a lot more people are saying that the championship is now better to watch.
And I think I have to agree.
As I said, I'm Villa and looking forward to us challenging next season.
But realistically, I doubt we could sustain it even if we do, unless Mr Lerner throws megabucks in or his monetary astuteness really does the bizz.
The seeds have been sown over the last 15 years, where brummy kids support the top 4 :( and that is going to take years to turn around.
I think the game is already ruined.
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
You have to agree old dick (white)head has a very valid point.
Even though I'm Villa too, I think he's dead right.

We were having this exact conversation today.
Everyone was in agreement that it won't be long before the top 4 break away.

Interestingly, I've noticed that a lot more people are saying that the championship is now better to watch.
And I think I have to agree.
As I said, I'm Villa and looking forward to us challenging next season.
But realistically, I doubt we could sustain it even if we do, unless Mr Lerner throws megabucks in or his monetary astuteness really does the bizz.
The seeds have been sown over the last 15 years, where brummy kids support the top 4 :( and that is going to take years to turn around.
I think the game is already ruined.
I hope they do. Rather bizarrely, it might save the game - if the other clubs react properly. When they go, the remaining clubs should shut them out. No cup fixtures, no changing the season so that they can play in their 'Euro super greed' and in a national leauge of their choosing, so no leauge matches for them either.

A Euro leauge, as it stands, is not sustainable. However, when wallets are talking, as are people who'd heads are way to big for their tiny brains, it seems that way.

It's unlikely the other clubs, because too many of them are almost as greedy, will show such solidarity, but in the long run it's a course that could have far reaching consequences at both club and international level. It would give the FA, FL and clubs a chance to reach the sort of agreements we as fans would like to see, that the big four (and Spurs + Everton) would never agree too.

I hope they go, for the good of the national game. And I support one of them!:eek:
 

rio1981

Well-known Member
I hope they do. Rather bizarrely, it might save the game - if the other clubs react properly.

Completely agree, think how competitive our top flight would - currently - be if the top four weren't involved? (True, my claret and blue army would already be down if Arsenal and Man Utd weren't in the league, but that's not the point! :rotfl:)

Pricing is at ridiculous proportions but as clubs are run as businesses these days I can't really see it changing given the demand is there for most clubs.

Teams such as Wigan, for example, charging about £15 a ticket (correct me if I'm wrong) for our game at the JJB on Saturday. This could turn out to be an absolute belter, and there should be a good atmosphere too.

The following week a ticket for West Ham vs Bolton will set you back the best part of £40-£50. Even if we go down these prices most likely won't change because the demand is there - it's business sense that if the demand is there why change the pricing? It's the under-supported clubs - dare I say it, oop north - that are having to revise or freeze pricing due to too many vacant, garish plastic seats visible on TV!

Another idea is throw into the mix is to allow more away fans at games and price them reasonably to ensure the allocation is filled more often than not.

I remember when we played at Old Trafford in the FA Cup a few years back and I think we had over 10,000 in the ground that day? The atmosphere was electric, yet how many do they allow for a regular league game? Cup games at the Boleyn where the whole of the Centenary Lower has been used for away fans has always stoked the atmosphere up.

I would take terracing back, at least partially, in a heartbeat - but as has been said, even if it's a nice idea the prospect of being able to drink at your seat, or whilst standing, isn't going to work in this country...
 

BrianC

Active Member
Regarding cost I'm not convinced that by itself has much of an effect. Villa have had enough cheap deals on with tickets (including as low as a fiver for an adult this season, both in advance and on match day itself) and still not come anywhere near close to selling out for anything other than the big four home games. I'm now convinced that the extra 8,000 that come to those games are mostly made up with local fans of the big four. I think the cost of the ticket is way down the priority list for casual fan, play entertaining football, make big signings and win cups is far more important.

Agree with reintroducing terraces for about half of the ground. Also agree about allowing beer on the terraces.

Are the Liverpool and Arsenal takeovers being funding like the Man U takeover?
 

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